When I spend thousands of dollars and weeks of planning on a family vacation, I make sure I have photos to remember these memories. I anticipate many years from now, my grown child may be in a therapist office complaining about a neglected childhood, and I’ll have photos and videos to prove otherwise!
1. Take photos of people, not things. Now that I work in a video transfer store, where I see families’ vacation photos and videos decades after they were shot, it gives me insights into what really are valuable photo and video shots that will be cherished twenty-thirty years later and what is fluff, inconsequential. For example, your first sight of the Eiffel Tower may inspire you to take hundreds of photos of the magnificent landmark from multiple angles. But the Eiffel Tower is not going anywhere, is unlikely to look different years from now. So only take a photo of the Tower if you or your kids are in the photo as well.
Gayle, a customer who had boxes of carousel of slides to transfer to digital images told us how she hired a neighborhood kid to go through the slides to put aside all the ones without any faces. She would invest money digitizing the ones with faces, but not the ones without. Most of us take digital photos now so there’s a low cost to snapping away freely. Still, when it comes to preserving memories, think faces, people, over inanimate things.
2. Make something out of the photos – a photobook, a highlight video montage. Many of us have thousands of digital photos filed away in bits and bytes on our computers. The massiveness of them – repeats, poor shots, shots of things that interested us then but not now – keep us from enjoying them. I take the best of the best photos and create a photobook, and also a highlight video montage. It’s so much more enjoyable going through a 3 minute video memories of Paris 2007, then to go through hundreds of photos. Services like ScatteredPictures.com will take your vacation photos and turn them into a professional-looking keepsake video montage.
3. Make it easy. Unless you plan to take one vacation your whole life, make the process of preserving vacation memories easy. If you are doing it yourself, stay with simple software like animoto.com that you don’t need to relearn each time, but can produce a pleasing finished product. If you can afford it, do the hard job of selecting the best photos that capture your vacation experience, then hand them off to a professional to turn into a photo book or a music highlight video montage. You want to end up with a library of photobooks, or video montage DVDs of your vacations, not with a much overdue lists of post-vacation must-dos that give you guilt instead of joy.
One important tip: Make sure to include yourself in your family vacation photos. Many adults, me included, wish they saw more of the parents in the old family photos and videos, and not just of kids. After all, how are you going to prove to your child (and the therapist) that you were there too, and you didn’t just put them on a bus.